Friday Blog

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Staff of Life
Bread wheat is derived from the hybridizations between three distinct species, and I had no idea that its DNA sequence was five times longer than that of a human being. Since it’s a crop that provides over 20% of protein and caloric intake of humans, it has strategic value in addition to the obvious food value. 

(WIRED) In a Science report published Thursday, an international team of more than 200 researchers presents the first high-quality, complete sequence of the bread wheat genome. Like a physical map of the monstrous genome—wheat has five times more DNA than you do—the fully annotated sequence provides the location of over 107,000 genes and more than 4 million genetic markers across the plant’s 21 chromosomes. For a staple crop that feeds a third of the world’s population it’s a milestone that may be on par with the day its domestication began 9,000 years ago.

As with most foods these days – ‘wheat will kill you’. So will eating a steak. So will adding a lobster tail to your steak dinner to make surf and turf. I think that moderation is important but where wheat is concerned, it’s a component part of almost everything that humans consume. So is the unassuming soy bean. 
I’m posting this up because I thought it interesting. There is a lot about the world that we take for granted and the next time you bite into your favorite sandwich, consider that various hybridizations of the wheat that makes up the bread have been going on for 9,000 years to make it what it is today.

North and South (an update)

North Korea and South Korea restored a military communications line on the east coast, according to the South Korean defense ministry. “The communications line can support transportation and communication needed to implement inter-Korean projects related to railway, expressway and forestry,” the ministry said in a press release on the 15th.
The restoration of fiber-optic cables will enable exchanges of phone calls and fax paper documents between North Korea and South Korea for future inter-Korean projects.
In North Korea military communications were the only reliable means of long distance communications until cell phones were introduced in recently. Telephones for civilians were restricted to high ranking officials and government offices, collective farms and factories.
The process moves forward – slowly. As it should. North Korea feels that all of Korea should be unified under the genius of Dear Leader, Kim Jong Un. South Korea doesn’t want to be a gulag, and they have a different view of things. There is no burning desire on the part of South Koreans to “unify” partly because of the burden of raising the failed communist north to a decent standard of living. Nobody wants a war, but nobody wants peace on Nork terms.

Then there is This

21 thoughts on “Friday Blog

  1. What we call 'corn' today is much the same, hardly recognizable from its meager beginnings as maize. It is so hybridized, no such plant ever existed until farmers got a hold of it and started monkeying around.

  2. I believe the little fat man is just biding his time as more and more the lines between North and South weaken. Then the Red Tide will flow South without a battle. With all that is going on now, it seems like a little hole in the dam has sprung with no one but Trump to stick his finger in the hole. And if the Dems happen to take over the POTUS in the US, then The Tide will flow for sure. IMHO

  3. Wheat also creates problems for historians, anthropologist, Archaeologists and other subject matter experts.

    One site that is changing our understanding of the past is Bouldnor Cliff off the Isle of Wight. Discovered in 1999 when a lobster was seen pushing stone tools out of its burrow, the Maritime Archaeology Trust has conducted annual excavations on the site that dates to 8,000 years ago. At a depth of 11 metres below sea level, the archaeologists have found tools, wooden artefacts, and even the oldest piece of string. The biggest discovery was made in 2015 and published in Science. DNA from the sediments on site contained wheat DNA, suggesting that wheat products were imported to Britain before wheat was cultivated in the country approximately 2,000 years later. The research is helping to understand the transition from Mesolithic hunter-gathers to the farmers of the Neolithic.

    DNA seem to creating problems when it comes to the narrative that we are in family with a common mother in Africa.

    DNA findings complicates the narrative and it seem that here are many sources and timelines than known in the past.

    theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/26/the-first-brexit-submerged-landscapes-of-the-north-sea-and-channel

  4. We're told that wheat was domesticated in Turkey around 9 or 10 thousand years ago. Before that everyone apparently lived a nomadic, hunter gatherer lifestyle, foraging about for nuts and berries and the occasional mammoth. Much like Red Indians or Zimbabweans.

    Then they discover Gobekli Tepe, not far from the site of the first domesticated wheat, and it's 12,000 years old, at least, and the clear product of a sophisticated stone working culture.

    So the nut crunching flintstones build monumental architecture and wait 3000 years until they start to farm. Presumably because they were content with mastodon steaks (tasty) and delicious berries. Then got fed up with the diet.

    I'm no expert but something seems wrong with this picture.

  5. Yes, John. The whole African genesis narrative is full of holes.

    I was unaware of the Bouldnor Cliff discoveries and will read up on it. Thank you.

  6. Your post about wheat DNA is a fascinating subject. As briefly as I can, when it comes to DNA, size DOES matter, but not in the way most think. More doesn't necessarily mean better in the DNA world. Plants keep duplicate genes more rapidly than those of higher organisms so there's a question of the ratio of keeping/and or deleting "junk" DNA. This rate is very species dependent because plants evolve more rapidly than humans.

    What constitutes "junk" DNA for a specific organism and the rate of "junk" destruction, is still up for grabs but still an interesting avenue of theoretical research. Thanks for the post.

  7. There are a lot of historical gaps. However when it comes to wheat, there has been tinkering with that grain for a very long time. Now we know genetically what makes it tick. And the fingerprints of farmers and amateur geneticists over the eons are all over it. I clearly need to learn more on the subject.

  8. The Godless hoard need to get some food from elsewhere to keep themselves from starving this winter.

  9. >Discovered in 1999 when a lobster was seen pushing stone tools out of its burrow

    This is such a perfect phrase, so odd and mysterious yet rife with possibility, that I almost stopped reading right there, lest the truth not live up to the imagined.

  10. In the beginning when the first whatever took action and climbed out of the ocean and then understood if was a safe place to secure the future for its offspring the egg came, and that was a long time before any chicken had ever been known to anyone. So the egg came first with a hard eggshell to protect. So I guess we all came from the ocean in the beginning. The attached link gives us insight to understand what happened next until today via a DNA analysis.

    "These findings, based on analysis of ancestry of present-day humans, reveal migration in the distant past and provide new insights into human history."

    Another interesting fact in climate discussions is the hypothesis about the Snowball Earth around 650 million years ago. That was a hostile environment with ice and snow covering most of the earth with a few exceptions around equator. Something happened that made the ice go away and those forces are still operating today.

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27212471

  11. The only things that concern me about wheat, corn, soy and the like are the GMOs. (Genetic modification; not selective.) Like the roundup, I believe it was, found recently in oat products. (Yes, it might have blown there…) Why do I want to eat something grown to kill the bugs eating it; or survive all the weed killer put on it?

    The makers say "it's within allowable limits". Since when? That's the same thing they said about cows and Crohn's disease. They didn't worry about that because Crohn's could be treated.

    If the huge genome is because wheat has been around so long, that's interesting; but otherwise, not so good.

    It is good the South Koreans don't want to give up their freedoms so easily.

    I do like the kitty.
    Have a great weekend and God bless.

  12. The more we learn the more we only suspect.
    earth4all.net/the-290-million-year-old-fossil-human-footprint-really/

  13. That weed has come a LONG way… One can only marvel at all the mutations over the centuries since it was first ground and eaten…

  14. There's been a lot of genetic modification and hybrid design put into the weed by a lot of people over history. How long people have actually been messing with wheat is apparently a hot topic for debate. I don't have the answer. But what would a hot dog be without a bun?

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